• Great Yarmouth and St Katharines

    At 6.45 on the 4th September we set off for Great Yarmouth from Southampton, the weather looked to be very good and indeed the whole trip it was flat calm, somewhat different to the bumpy delivery trip a few months earlier.
    The deck crew (of which I was one) settled in to a 4 on 4 off routine that has served us well in the past. I think the engineers settled in to a 3 on 3 off routine, better for the hot engine and boiler room. The trip round was very uneventful we even managed to miss any traffic at Dover. It was so smooth problem free we arrived at Great Yarmouth too early. We asked for a pilot to take us into the port but was told that we would have to wait about 4 hours until the tide was ebbing. So we decided to anchor just south east of the harbour entrance and rest. At 2300 the pilot boarded and on entering the wheelhouse asked where the repeater and the rudder indicator was. We had to point that Challenge was 82 years of age and was not fitted with either. Actually she does have a rudder indicator but its not very usable.

    Challenge's rebuild

    The rebuild is going well, the electrics are almost completed. The main engine is progressing well with the bottom end bearings being cast at the Bluebell Railway. Once these have been received the final build can be completed. The engine has been prepared for a repaint so she will look superb when finished.
    Two new generators will be up and running very soon. The new boiler requires electricity to run the two burners. One of the reasons we went for a two burner boiler was that should, in the unlikely event that one burner fails then the boiler can run on the other burner. This is also the reason for having two generators.

    On deck we had problems with the mizzen mast. It snapped in 2 places as it was lifted out. A telegraph pole has been acquired and David Kerr and Tony Brannick are in the process of planing it up to size, unfortunately wearing out a planer in the process.

    Regrettably, the wheelhouse has also succumbed to rot and has had to be rebuilt.

    The Rudder is fitted but the steering quadrant and related steering tackle is yet to be fitted.

    16th March update.

    One of the new generators was started for the first time today without any hitches. As you can see from the pictures, on deck the new wheelhouse is well on it way to completion and the new mizzen mast is ready to be stepped.

    The boiler is being "plumbed"in and most of the pipework has been installed. The main engine has been fitted with it's new bearing that have been made for us by the Bluebell Railway workshops and is now rebuilt.


    Everything is all coming together now. The boiler is in and piped up, engine has been rebuilt. We have installed two new generators, a new wheelhouse is being built.

    Engine and Boiler completed

    Today saw the engine running under steam generated by the new boiler for the first time. This is the culmination of an immense amount of hard work by the volunteers and the team from Larssen Engineering Ltd, and of course the lottery grant that made it all possible. The video also shows the steering engine being run.

    Southampton Maritime Festival

    Challenge is back in action after her long and major refurbishment. After a hectic few weeks with a few gremlins on the way she was finally ready to sail to Southampton for the Maritime Festival.
    Although only 50 or 60 miles to Southampton the wind was force 6/7 on the nose and the sea was bumpy to say the least. Progress was slow but it was a good test and Challenge was back in her element.

    The excellent video is by Ron Keen.

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